Zooma Great Lakes Half Marathon Recap

by Kim on October 22, 2012

Welp, I did it! After much anticipation, the Zooma Great Lakes half marathon is officially over.

It was a whirlwind of a trip. Having Mason along made everything a tiny bit more challenging, but we made it happen.

First, on the trip down to Lake Geneva Friday night, Mase decided he wasn’t interested in sleeping (per the plan) and opted for screaming instead. Nothing I did would satisfy him. Luckily, it was a shorter trip (for us-we live 3.5 hours away from our hometown), so we just braced ourselves and rode it out.

We got to the resort around 7 PM and, after checking in, headed to the race expo in the hotel.



wine expo Oh, yes, there was wine.

Mase got his second wind and partied in his stroller the whole time. He felt bad about the whole car ride fiasco and was brown-nosing extra hard.

mase expoThe bionic waver

The race packets came in these interesting little messenger bags…

zooma sign

Mase approved, although he did want me to pass along to the Zooma admins that the bags could have used a bit more texture.

mase bag 

It was a long night, thanks to several crying episodes (and one hysterically crying episode), so I was not thrilled to see the clock hit 5:20 AM (that’s right, I was awake to see it). But as the mother of a 7-month-old who still doesn’t sleep through the night, waking up dangerously exhausted is pretty much par for the course, so it kinda just felt like another morning.

I threw on my race ensemble in the bathroom (after a pumping sesh)…

race outfit

…met my friend Katie in the hallway at 6:12 (we felt that 6:10 was too early and 6:15 too late) and headed to the lobby to catch the 6:30 shuttle, grabbing coffee and a bagel along the way.


The ride to the starting line was unnervingly long, since we knew we’d be running ALL the way back. Katie and I sat in the back row of the bus like the troublemakers we are and anticipated the fun that is the pre-race porta potty line.

Since it was a smaller race, the line actually wasn’t too bad.

starting line

However, we were all freezing our bazingas off, so it felt a lot longer than it was.

Look how cold this chick from California was!

sr Yes, I am a stalker…

It was running blogger/celeb (+ personal girl crush) Skinner Runner! I got all giddy and nervous like I was about to meet Bieber, and went running over to get a pic.

sr2 Us Weekly: if you’d like to make an offer on this shot, get in touch.

She was super nice and listened to me yammer about stupid crap for a few minutes before we resumed our spots in the poop line.

Since I didn’t want SR to get too big of a head, I ran over to get a picture with my friend Katie to confirm that I was just running around getting pictures with anyone and everyone.


Eventually, it was time to head to the start line and get this show on the road. Katie took a spot up front because she’s a Kenyan, while I waded into the crowd a bit, closer to my slower peeps.

The course was really pretty (think fall leaves and mansions) but CRAZY hilly. It was by far the hilliest race I’d ever run (hell, the hilliest run I’d ever run), and every time I’d come around a bend to see a steep incline coming up, my heart would drop a little further.

At mile 5, I was JUST starting to feel warm(ish), and my legs were finally getting comfortable in stride. Two guys along the side of the road were holding a sign that said “If it was easy, your husbands would do it.” I gave them a fist pump of approval.

Shortly after that, I started feeling like I was going to need to stop at a porty potty. Figures. I made it about 2 more miles before the need became URGENT and ended up stopping right before the 8 mile marker. I had to wait for someone else to go in ahead of me, which was grueling-I was forced to stand there and watch all the people I’d been neck-in-neck with the whole time go zooming by.

While I was standing there, I noticed that the volunteers running the water station nearby were yelling, “Only 3 more miles!! You can do this!” Hmm…3 more miles? I could have sworn we were at 8. Did I somehow black out for a few miles?

But no, they were just confused about the route. I set the record straight, dove into the porta potty, and continued on my way with a little crappier time but a much happier bladder.

Mile 10 was all downhill and took us right past the finish line at the resort. What a tease! I felt awesome coasting in there, knowing that there were only 3 miles left…but little did I know they’d be the most soul-sucking 3 miles EVER.

Mile 11 offered the steepest hill of the day, by far. Every time I’d come around a bend, thinking “this has GOT to be the end of this #$%&@ thing,” I’d be greeted by another huuuuge stretch of incline. I’m pretty sure my nose was scraping the ground the entire way up, and there was definitely a lot of walking. (It was so steep that my run and walk were almost the same speed anyway.)

Of course, with lots of steep hills came lots of steep valleys-which was kind of awesome, but they were so steep that it was actually pretty challenging going down too. We had to jam on the breaks hard to avoid turning the whole thing into a giant somersault fest.

somersault What almost happened

And I wondered why my knees were hurting so bad that night!

At mile 12, I got a nice little boost in the form of JELLY BEANS. It was the first time I’d ever gotten sugar during a race, and it was awesome. I even got a coconut flavored one (BONUS).

Even though I crossed the finish line with my worst half marathon time ever (2:19), I’ve also never been prouder of a finish. Not only had I gone into the race with all of my chips down (sick, sleep-deprived, and undertrained, for starters), but I’d had no idea what to expect of my first post-baby half. I was pleased just to be able to say that at no point was I considering bailing on the race. It was hard, but at least I knew I was going to finish.

And finish I did.

Instead of finisher medals, we got these cute necklaces, which was a fun change:




Afterwards, I zoomed up to the hotel room to feed Mase and shower, and then we all headed down to the post-race party. The weather and scenery were both ridiculously beautiful!


lg view


I bundled Mase up like it was the dead of winter, but turns out it was 60 degrees…




I really wanted a massage, especially after getting a horrible crick in my neck during the run (it had technically started before the race, during a particularly aggressive baby-to-ceiling toss, but was deeply aggravated by the run), but the line was pretty long and we weren’t really in a position to hang out.


post expo

So we grabbed lunch in town instead before heading home.

Great weekend! Many thanks to Zooma for a fun run!


In other news, the blog will be down tomorrow while my NEW DESIGN gets installed!!! I’m SO excited to show it to you! Stop by Wednesday to check it out. :)



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill Kroening October 25, 2012 at 3:36 pm

What an awesome Blog. I work with your mom in the Birth Center. I too like to call myself a runner most of the time. I have a 2 year old. I Ran a 1/2 marathon 12 weeks after I delivered my daughter. It was my worst time also but felt very accomoplished. I have only ran 2 more since due to health problems but do try to run everyday. Its a lot harder now, working nights and having to take care of a 2 year old and husband. I am enjoying your log. Thank you to your mom for putting it out there. Its nice to know that I am not the only one that struggles to get my workout in with crazy thing they call mommyhood:)


Kim October 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Nice to meet you, Jill! That’s awesome that you ran a 1/2 so soon after birth! I can’t imagine working nights AND parenting, you sound like a rockstar. Oh, and I like the “having to take care of a husband” part, haha–true!


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